2023 Commencement Recap

May 14, 2023

The Class of 2023 received their diplomas during Pomona College’s 130th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 14, 2023 at Marston Quad.

Civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill and Hall of Fame swimmer Penny Lee Dean ’77 delivered speeches to the graduates and received honorary degrees. Trustee Emeritus George E. “Buddy” Moss ’52 received posthumously the Trustees’ Medal of Merit. Read more about the honorary degree recipients.

In addition, President G. Gabrielle Starr provided a Charge to the Class of 2023, while Rohan Ahammed ’23, senior class president and Nasira Watts ’23, senior class speaker, addressed the audience. View the entire 2023 Commencement Exercises.

Sherrilyn Ifill

Sherrilyn Ifill is a distinguished civil rights lawyer, voting rights advocate and scholar. She is currently a senior fellow at the Ford Foundation, having recently stepped down after 10 years as the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights law organization.

Sherrilyn Ifill's speech [video]

Penny Lee Dean ’77

Penny Lee Dean is one of world’s greatest marathon swimmers. As an open water swimmer, she swam the Catalina Channel and broke the world record by one hour and 32 minutes, a record that still stands today. In 1978, she swam the English Channel, breaking the men’s world record by one hour and five minutes. During her swimming career she set 13 world records and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1996. In 1979, she was elected to be the U.S. national coach for open water, serving in that role for 12 years.

Penny Lee Dean's speech [video]

George E. “Buddy” Moss ’52

Trustee Emeritus George E. “Buddy” Moss ’52 received posthumously the Trustees’ Medal of Merit. This recognition is given to persons who have rendered outstanding service to Pomona or who have brought distinction to this institution through their actions or achievements.

A member of the Board of Trustees from 1995–2004, Moss also served on several alumni reunion committees. Moss was a dedicated member of the Pomona College community whose support of Pomona’s academic programs will be felt for generations into the future.